Texas Commits to Ten-Team Big 12, Might Put Realignment on Hold for the Moment

There have been a series of never-ending questions ever since expansion began. Will the Big Ten go to 14? 16? Will the ACC be proactive and snag a few Big East schools? How will the SEC respond? What will Kansas and Kansas State do? Will Texas go to the Pac-10, or the Big Ten?

But perhaps the possibility that was most thrown by the wayside is coming true: reports from Orangebloods' Chip Brown, who's dominated the expansion news cycle, indicate that Texas will be staying put in a 10-team Big 12 conference. Now its up to the rest of that Big 12 convoy, including Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, to match Texas' pledge (if the invitation is still open) and wait for Texas A&M to make their decision.

If the Big 12 is able to remain at 10 teams with Texas in the fold, it's almost certain that they'll survive as a conference, albeit with some minor alterations. It would also throw a huge wrench in the majority of expansion scenarios currently being considered, maybe ruin the Pac-16's expansion plan, and possibly force the Big Ten to reconsider their current plan of action, whatever it may be.

The interesting thing, though, is that Joe Schad of ESPN had a very conflicting report, stating that there's no way that the move doesn't happen. Considering that Schad thinks it's possible and ESPN seems to be currently endorsing Brown's report on SportsCenter - and interviewing Schad about it - it seems that Brown's report likely holds more water.

There's a giant caveat to Texas' supposed plan right now: they'll pledge to remaining part of a 10-team Big 12. So what happens if any of the other three schools (TTU, Oklahoma, and Ok. St.) try to go rogue, or, more likely, if Texas A&M goes to the SEC? If that goes down, Texas may go for the Pac-16 anyway.

In short, all eyes turn to Texas A&M now, which is surely facing a tough decision between finances, fan support, tradition, and loyalty. Texas was holding the keys to realignment, but they might've just handed them to their archrivals.

The impact of all of this on schools like Maryland and the ACC is yet to be seen. But it will probably delay the entire process for everyone involved if it really happens, and will certainly massive impact whatever happens from here on out. Basically, we're just waiting to see what domino effect this will have; it may limit the effects of expansion, or possibly just change its focus. If expansion was cloudy before, it's even more so now.

Elsewhere...For the record, CFN had a great two-part piece on expansion today before all this news came out, looking at all the conferences. They seem more speculation/logic-based than holding legitimate sources, but I found it interesting that they think that the Big Ten's best potential move would be Maryland and Rutgers, along with Notre Dame. They also bring up Memphis for the ACC, which I'd be very conflicted about but would probably help financially, what with FedEx pledging millions and all.

Also, the Texas state legislature is getting involved. I've never been as anti-"government getting involved in sports" as some people I know (it's a pretty massive business, and last I check there are government agencies dedicated to regulating business, at least to some extent) but rarely are they heard during a situation like this. I wonder when it'll get to Washington.

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